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Oil over snowmelt

Mark Eatherton
Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,853
We have a potential snowmelt job where the owner wants to use oil and stone as the finished surface. We have no experience with this application of snowmelt. My concern is the oil and it potentially migrating down to the tubing and having adverse chemical interaction. Please let me know your thoughts/recommendations/experience with this.

This is from a friend/associate of mine. I've had no experience with this sort of system and thought I'd run it by the Wall to see if anyone else has had experience with it.

He's in the process of getting the MSDS sheets on the oil (non petroleum product, evidently) and I will send that information along as I get it.

Thanks in advance!

ME
It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.

Comments

  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 21,856
    What about the oil into the ground? If it is safe for the environment, it should be safe for the tube, maybe.

    Possibly it's a bio product from corn or beans. Our PG solar fluid is corn based now.

    Pex is a petroleum product, so once you know the make up of the "oil" the tube manufacturer should be able to assist.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Robert O'Connor_12
    Robert O'Connor_12 Member Posts: 728
    Oil eats oil.
    Following. ...
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
    edited March 2015
    So Mark is this finish surface what we call in Illinois chip and seal. Basically done on the country roads with lower traffic volumes.

    Lay down an oil emulsion, and then spread fine chips over it. Some stays some ends up on the shoulder. Cheap resurface.

    Don't know what the chips are like in Colorado, but I think I would be worried about damaging the tubing from movement if it is a fractured type of aggregate.
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,853
    Not sure Gordy. This friend is in up state NY. He's dealt with stone dust before, with no issues. Once he finds out what kind of oil we're dealing with it will help clear up some questions.

    ME
    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • Harvey Ramer
    Harvey Ramer Member Posts: 2,239
    Inadvisable unless he puts in a solid base to encase the tubing. An oil and chip or oil and stone product, has no structural integrity and needs to be resurfaced as it gets packed down. If the tubing is encased in this product, I could almost guarantee damage resulting from movement of the media as vehicles travel over the surface and pack down the stones.

    That is my 2 cents for the day.
    icesailor
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
    In advisable, or unpredictable. Like Harvey says sub base is everything. No doubt it would work, but longevity is the question, and the media composition.

    Freeze thaw cycles most critical time.
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 7,350
    Mark,
    What is the customer's reason for wanting this type of surface instead of concrete or asphalt?
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,853
    I like the idea of pouring a slab and then putting the chips etc over the top of that. Better conductivity factor for the tube. Where do people come up with these ideas anyway. I imagine this stuff tracks into the dwellings too...

    Asphalts another thing. Great solar collector :wink:

    Thanks for the comments.

    ME
    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    IMO )worthless), if they insist on a surface like stone dust with a layer of crushed chips on the top, and tubing for the snow melt, they need to cover the tubing with well screened sand or screened stone dust and landscape filter fabric. At least a double layer, then more stone dust and the chipped top.

    From experience, I've seen this as a cheap alternative when developers can convince the planning organizations that this will be a nice alternative to a asphalt paved road. A long lasting country gravel road. In practice, within three years. it looks like the entrance road to a dump. Especially if water from rain runs over it and you get frost in the Spring. It gets a lot of washouts.

    If the person that wants it has a smaller area in a yard, and is willing to put work into it over time as maintenance, it might work for a while. After a few years, it becomes difficult to plow and will dig up and rut. Then with rain and thawing, it "washboards" like crazy with use. How far are they planning on putting the coils below the initial grade?

    If they are going to cover everything with stone dust, they'd be better off putting in the cheapest precast fake brick pavers. Its permanent. It will last for years, and drainage won't make ruts in it.
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
    edited March 2015
    The owner is chip and sealing for a reason, and it's cost. Maybe to be able to incorporate snowmelt also.

    Chip, and seal or what ever anyone here wants to call it is not a cosmetically pleasing surface. It's intent was to eliminate gravel road dust in the non winter driving time frames, and create a some what cohesive surface to help eliminate pot holes, and wash boarding as compared to all gravel surface. By doing this it helps cut down on road maintenance.

    To pour a concrete slab for the tubing while a good idea is probably counter productive to the owners goals "cost". May as well make it a concrete drive, or asphalt right? Why cover concrete with chip and seal?

    Usage intent plays a key role in surface sustainability. Is it a driveway for cars. Farm equipment? Semis? We all know a good pavement starts with a good sub base, but how much the owner wants to spend plays the key role. I can give many ways to create a sustainable pavement detail over differing soil types in correlation to the traffic it will see. Cost is always a factor.

    As for Marks original question we have seen people do snowmelt with the pex in asphalt. So I can't imagine the oil choice the pavement installer wants to use as being damaging to the pex. There are environmental concerns depending on the emulsion used.

    There are also a wide variety of fabric choices to incorporate into an unstable soil condition. They are not cheap, but they do help bridge soft areas, and disperse loading to the sub grade.

    To protect the tubing an idea is maybe using a geo textile fabric one layer then tubing then another layer over the tubing then the chip, and seal. The fabric will disperse loading to the sub base, and protect the tubing from the fractured chips. Sub base prep still can not be forgotten, but can be a little less aggressive.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    edited March 2015
    Whatever this owner decides to do will not affect my life and happiness in a single way. I've seen multiple chip seal roads become indistinguishable between the dirt road and the new ones within three years. The only way to tell was the gray stone dust on the sides. The pot holes in the summer from cars driving over rain soaked roads were worse than ones in winter with freeze/thawing.

    They do the same thing in South Florida where there is no bedrock for gravel. So they grind up Coral rock. Its a shock to see concrete surface ground and to see white aggregate. They put that coral aggregate on "improved" dirt roads. You can tell the cars that drive in "Improved" roads. They are all at least two tone in color. One being a light gray dusted color from the rocker panels to the windows, and the entire tailgate or back. Often with someone using their finger in the dust saying "Wash Me".

    ME:

    There is one surface that really works well for your friend. Its called "ABC Mix" Asphalt, Brick and Concrete. It comes from re-claimed A, B, C, or combinations. "A/Asphalt Mix comes from when they claw and scratch asphalt highways. They often use it over in asphalt, because it is high in gravel/aggregate. The best product (in my opinion) is the reclaimed concrete. When they demolish anything concrete, they reclaim it. Crush it, separate the steel re-bar and wire, and because concrete is mostly gravel and sand with the Portland cement as the glue that holds it together, it is a perfect sub-base with a gravel top. Maintenance is a simple thin layer of gravel on the top. Traffic drives the gravel into the sub-base, and it holds like the concrete road it is. Once the surface is watered from the rain and packed down by the cars. it is abut the best non asphalt surface you can get. Its a truly "Green" product. Reclaimed Concrete. The Greenie Weenies may be getting itchy about it because of the concrete product leaching.

    Unless rivers run down it in heavy rains, it usually doesn't easily wash out.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concrete_recycling
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
    edited March 2015
    icesailor said:

    Whatever this owner decides to do will not affect my life and happiness in a single way. I've seen multiple chip seal roads become indistinguishable between the dirt road and the new ones within three years. The only way to tell was the gray stone dust on the sides. The pot holes in the summer from cars driving over rain soaked roads were worse than ones in winter with freeze/thawing.

    They do the same thing in South Florida where there is no bedrock for gravel. So they grind up Coral rock. Its a shock to see concrete surface ground and to see white aggregate. They put that coral aggregate on "improved" dirt roads. You can tell the cars that drive in "Improved" roads. They are all at least two tone in color. One being a light gray dusted color from the rocker panels to the windows, and the entire tailgate or back. Often with someone using their finger in the dust saying "Wash Me".

    ME:

    There is one surface that really works well for your friend. Its called "ABC Mix" Asphalt, Brick and Concrete. It comes from re-claimed A, B, C, or combinations. "A/Asphalt Mix comes from when they claw and scratch asphalt highways. They often use it over in asphalt, because it is high in gravel/aggregate. The best product (in my opinion) is the reclaimed concrete. When they demolish anything concrete, they reclaim it. Crush it, separate the steel re-bar and wire, and because concrete is mostly gravel and sand with the Portland cement as the glue that holds it together, it is a perfect sub-base with a gravel top. Maintenance is a simple thin layer of gravel on the top. Traffic drives the gravel into the sub-base, and it holds like the concrete road it is. Once the surface is watered from the rain and packed down by the cars. it is abut the best non asphalt surface you can get. Its a truly "Green" product. Reclaimed Concrete. The Greenie Weenies may be getting itchy about it because of the concrete product leaching.

    Unless rivers run down it in heavy rains, it usually doesn't easily wash out.

    Asphalt grindings / millings are a nice green recycled alternative for sub base, and or topping, and also recycled concrete. Around here they don't give it away either it cost good money to crush concrete, and mill asphalt. Cost to,get rid of it, and buy it is a direct correlation as to the size of the recyclers stock piles. The more they have the more it costs to get rid of your material. The less they have the more it costs to buy the recycled material.

    In the reconstruction of the I 90 corridor the "green project" there was no material for sub base to come to,the project, and no material to leave the project. Sub base was 12" recycled existing concrete pavement then 6" of recycled asphalt fine grade then 4" of BAM (bitumanous asphalt) then the concrete pavement operation was 9" of typical PV concrete followed by 3" of black rock concrete no later than 30 mins after the 9" concrete was layed. The black rock concrete was simply a creative way to get rid of asphalt grindings 200 pounds per cubic yard. Going against all ideas of contaminants in your concrete mix design lets throw asphalt covered aggregate in the mix design.

    What was not green about the project was cost. The concrete paving operation required two paving spreads verses one in a typical paving operation. Labor, and precious fossils fuels to recycle the concrete to strict sieve sizing specs could not be to large, or to small, and recycle the asphalt. The number of laps that material made around each contract section of the corridor to processing sites, and back to where it came from the trucking was unbelievable. Green sometimes turns into jumping over a dollar to pick up a dime.


    Edit: another unintended consequence was a third lane was added, and center line median crash wall. So because now your eliminating the existing center line drainage ditch for water run off the road which was once flat for 100 miles is a roller coaster to create drainage for the new highway. What do you think that does to gas mileage? Interesting the cuts were suppose to match the fills to create this drainage effect. Guess what someone miss calculated in design, and there are huge ski slope stock piles of over burden in clover leaf in fields because there was,no where to get rid of the extra material which by the green clause had to stay on site.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    @Gordy:

    My comments were meant ONLY for recycled concrete. I totally agree with the use of re-cycled asphalt has issues. But, the recycled concrete is a more available product. Where I lived and worked, it was referred to as "ABC Mix". It was cheap.

    When I built my last house on Cape Cod, I told the builder in November that he better have my 500' driveway addressed because in January and February/March, I didn't want any panic calls that the subs couldn't get to the house because the driveway was frozen thawed. His reply was that it would be THEIR problem to get there. I told him that it would be MY problem if they fell behind because they couldn't get to the jobsite. I told him that it was going to be paved and I wanted ABC mix under the asphalt. He told me that "hardening" was fine. I told him that it wasn't. Not to worry about it. He'd handle it when the time came. The end of January, he called me because no one cold get to the job site. (What did I tell him). They were going to bring in some hardening fill to fill the mud holes where the trucks got stuck. I told him NO WAY. That they were to use ABC mix, no matter what. Someone came and graded in as much as needed, they never had another problem, I had the driveway asphalted in the Summer after we moved in, and in 13 years, it never cracked.

    There was no Asphalt in my mix, but about everything else. PVC conduit, plastic electrical boxes, pieces of brick etc. It packs down as hard as concrete. Unless you mixed fine sand with reclaimed asphalt gravel, it will never be as hard and durable as reclaimed concrete base.

    IMO.
  • NYplumber
    NYplumber Member Posts: 503
    Subscribed.

    Mark, I would think that the concrete would absorb the oil due to its porous nature.

    Never heard about an oil driveway, always looking to learn.

    If its within a few hour drive I would take a trip to check out the process so long as its after the heating season.
    :NYplumber: